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Just how bad are things for Fox News? On Thursday, Megyn Kelly shared the shocking data behind the network’s primetime collapse, and it shows that the fall is much steeper than many suspected it would be.
At the heart of the matter is the recent firing of Tucker Carlson, once the highest-rated host on cable news. He was unceremoniously dumped for as-yet unconfirmed reasons, though some outlets have reported that it had to do with text messages unearthed during the network’s legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems.
While hosting her podcast, Kelly went dove into the recent ratings collapse or Fox News, and the numbers are stunning.
Here’s @megynkelly on the genuinely remarkable, instant collapse of Fox’s ratings in the wake of its decision to fire the most popular host in the history of the medium:pic.twitter.com/pJgewdxmlG
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) May 5, 2023
They’ve lost almost two-thirds of the audience that helps pay their bills. They’re left with about a one-third of their audience. I mean, that’s stunning, and I looked up and down the board at the rest of the primetime, which with all due respect to the daytime, is all anyone gives a **** about over there at Fox News. Primetime pays the bills, period.
They’re all down. I just did a quick caluclation of the 9:00 PM demo, which of course is Hannity, he follows Tucker, is down almost 40%. Down 39%. The 10:00 PM down 24% in the demo, down almost 20% in the total. And I could go on.
The 11:00 got hurt too. Greg Gutfeld. He was averaging 1745 a night in the overall. Now he’s down 1586. He was averaging 258 in the demo, now he’s down to 207, and that’s the least hurt hour. All the others are down double digits. They have lost repeatedly to MSNBC.
What these numbers show is that Carlson wasn’t just important within his own time slot. He was also a massive draw for the other shows in primetime, delivering viewers for hosts who don’t have the charisma or talent to sustain large audiences on their own.
Think about it. When is the last time you saw a viral monologue from Sean Hannity? Or Laura Ingraham? Or whoever hosts the earlier shows? Carlson was very unique in his ability to command a room. He could light social media ablaze with one ten-minute segment. That was a superpower that didn’t just benefit him personally, but it benefited all of Fox News by raising the network’s profile with the viewers it needs the most. Your grandfather watches Hannity, but the audience for Tucker’s show was decidedly younger, and it’s that demographic that produces the most advertising revenue.
Bill O’Reilly, as popular as he was before his firing, never had that level of broad appeal. O’Reilly was also let go for what most would consider a justifiable reason. The circumstances surrounding Carlson’s ouster have only made the backlash that much worse. Those predicting that Fox News will recover in the same way may be making a bad bet.
What personality does Fox News have to put in Carlson’s spot that even comes close to his level of talent? I don’t see one. So while Fox News may have a road back, it’s going to be a long one. There’s no quick fix here. It will take years to rebuild trust with audiences.
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